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Report & Toolkit

Developing social contact models in a time of social distancing: A Response to COVID-19

This report aims to help build more effective social connection projects for older people during the new operating environment of COVID-19.


As national and local rules change in response to infection rates, this report offers guidance that can be applicable in a number of different scenarios, from a world where social distancing is the norm to one where we return to complete lockdown. It is important that we focus planning on how we live with COVID-19 rather than how we reconstruct after it.


In order to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus some social activities are going to be limited and can’t proceed as they once could. In addition, as different people perceive and react to risk in different ways, social connection is best developed by taking a person centered approach and with recognition that there are as many solutions as there are people.


Within the report, we provide a number of tools and examples to help service providers, community groups and commissioners consider what social contact models will look like now and in the future. This includes:


  • A number of design principles to best meet the needs of older people
  • A checklist of challenges to consider when designing or restarting projects
  • A collection of case studies of projects compatible with social distancing with key learning


To help make this report into a practical document, we have pulled out sections of relevance that can be used independently, as well as alongside the full report. The full suite of documents is available as follows:


Front cover of report. The report cover shows an image of a hand drawn rainbow in a window. Front cover of the Executive Summary. It is mostly unreadable text.  a flower arranging setup, a rainbow in a window, a blue sign and a dartboard  a park, a set of cards and some people eating pizza

Full Report
Contains all other documents and additional information

Executive Summary
A summary of the full report

Design Principles and Challenges Checklist
What you need to know when designing and restarting projects

Projects compatible with social distancing
Contains a collection of case studies of projects compatible with social distancing with key learning 


If you would like a representative from Ambition for Ageing to present the findings of this research at an event you are holding, or you would like to have further discussion about the work, we’d love to chat. Contact us and we’ll be in touch.


The documents are also available to download below.

Greater Manchester